Suspected car thief in Queens shot by police while ramming NYPD van

An officer inspects the stolen Acura at the scene of a police shooting in Jamaica, Queens on Jan. 24, 2021.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

A suspected car thief is hospitalized in stable condition after police officers in Queens shot him in the chest as he allegedly attempted to ram them with the vehicle on Sunday night, it was reported.

Police officials said the suspect and his accomplice, Brooklyn’s Jerold Werts, 28, and Peter James, 21, initially stole the vehicle, a 2004 Acura, from in front of a home on 101st Avenue near 126th Street in South Richmond Hill at about 9:35 p.m. on Jan. 24.

The shooting occurred a short time later in Jamaica along 97th Street between Allendale and Liverpool Streets (Sean Bell Way), where officers from the 102nd Precinct had tracked the stolen Acura, according to Chief of Patrol Juanita Holmes.

Police in Jamaica, Queens at the scene of a police-involved shooting on Jan. 24, 2021.

The victim had told police he had left the keys, as well as his cellphone, inside the vehicle when it was stolen, Holmes reported. Officers were able to ascertain the Acura’s location in Jamaica by tracing the cellphone.

According to Holmes, the officers went to the Jamaica location (in the 103rd Precinct’s confines) and spotted the stolen Acura, with the two suspects sitting inside.

“As the officers exited their marked vehicle,” Holmes explained, “the suspects accelerated in reverse at a high rate of speed into a marked police van. One of the discharged his firearm and struck the 28-year-old man in the chest.”

Werts, a resident of Junius Street in East New York who sat in the passenger’s seat, was brought to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition. The driver, James, who lives on East 92nd Street in Canarsie, was taken into custody without further incident, police reported.

They were both charged with grand larceny and unauthorized use of a vehicle, police sources said Monday afternoon.

The two officers involved in the shooting were evaluated at a local hospital and released, Holmes added.

The case is also being examined by the NYPD Force Investigation Division.

Coincidentally, the shooting occurred near Liverpool Street, which was ceremonially renamed for Sean Bell, a victim of a police shooting in November 2006.